A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy has issued a notice to the Bar Council of India (BCI), the state government and University Law College, Bangalore (ULC, Bangalore) in a plea seeking to do away with compulsory clinical courses such as Moot Court exercises and internships for law students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea filed by final year students of ULC Bangalore stated that in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic completion of “Compulsory Clinical Courses”, which includes moot court exercises and internships as stated in Schedule II of Part IV of the BCI Rules is impossible as courts and lawyers’ offices are currently shut.
The Karnataka High Court had issued an SOP ordering that litigants/outsiders would not be permitted to enter court premises and it was also informed that even chambers of lawyers and law firms were reluctant to offer internships, keeping in mind social distancing norms.
This in turn would violate rights guaranteed to students under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution to practise any profession, business or trade of their choice. Therefore, on these grounds, the petition for Moot Court exercises and internships prays that compulsory clinical courses such as Moot Court and internships be discontinued for the time being.
The plea also seeks a direction to the BCI to frame appropriate rules compensating for the aforesaid courses with respect to the academic year 2019-2020 and conduct exams for the same via online means in an effective and time-bound manner.
The matter will be next heard on July 8.
Read the petition here: